Four Unionville teams in world finals

Apr. 11, 2013 @ 05:28 PM

Four teams from Unionville Elementary School presented their original, creative solutions in the state Odyssey of the Mind competition on April 6 at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Since each team placed in the top three, all four teams from Unionville Elementary School will compete in the World Finals at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan in May. The Odyssey of the Mind rewards creativity and prohibits adult assistance, encouraging students to solve problems in their own creative way. Each long-term problem was judged by the degree to which they fulfilled the mandated criteria and the creativity with which they solved the problem within budget limitations. The World Finals of Odyssey of the Mind has been described as the intellectual equivalent of attending the Olympics: they will compete against the very best teams from all over the world.

First place honors were awarded to the “Pet Project” team — Ashley Carraway, Courtney Colilns, Hannah and Patrick Dennehy, Jacob and Sarah Marcum, and Dottie Simpson. The “Pet Project” was judged by their creativity in fulfilling the following criteria: design, build and run three vehicles that will deliver parts to an Assembly Area, create a signal that lets the audience know which vehicle is about to travel and deliver a part, assemble the parts into a pet animal, once assembly is completed, the animal is to perform a trick. This team is coached by Michael Dennehy and Sam & Cheryl Marcum.

“The Email Must Go Through” team includes the creative minds of Palmer Braswell, Sam and Will Gunn, Staton Helms, Alexis LeBatard, Lindsey Smith and Ian York, who also earned FIRST PLACE at the state competition. Their problem was to create and present an original performance that included a technical representation of messages being sent by email. A Sender character was to send three emails: one that required a return receipt, one with a work of art as an attachment, and one that went through a SPAM filter. Two of the emails were to go to a Receiver character and another was to go to an offbeat location. Team members were not allowed to touch the emails while the server was processing the messages. Kyra Gunn and Martha & Ken Helms coach this team.

Earning second place in its division, the “ARTchitecture: The Musical” team had to create and present an original performance that included a replica of a documented architectural structure that was built between 1000 AD and 1600 AD,  include three original works of art that “disappear” and two characters that go on a quest to find them,  include two choreographed songs with original lyrics, and incorporate the works of art into the replica after they are found. Team members Ryleigh Bennet, Maren Canupp, Doc Farrar, Luke Noonan, Ella and Madeline Rushing, and Javier Vanderwalt are coached by Candace Arnett, Matthew Noonan and Genie Vanderwalt.

Isabelle Brown, Ethan Humphrey, Kendall Martin, Caroline Ogden, Hannah Sell and Hudson Shank earned first place in the “It’s How You Look at It” problem. They are coached by Nicci Brown and Steve Shank. Their problem was to create and present an original humorous performance that includes two characters that act naturally – to them — but odd to those around them. One scene was to establish “normal” behavior of one character that, at some point, is considered odd, and another scene in which an actor’s odd behavior is considered normal. The performance also had to include a meter indicating the degree of odd/normal behavior, and a creative scene change.

The Unionville Elementary School will be hosting several fundraising events for the teams, to help defray the cost of attendance of all four teams to World Finals and the transportation of their projects to Lansing, Michigan. Odyssey of the Mind requires each student to bring at least one parent, and each student and parent must pay $531 to Michigan State University for the three-day event. (28 students + 28 parents x $531 each = $29,736). Additionally, each student and parent must also incur their own travel expenses to Lansing, Michigan. Fund raising events will be posted as soon as plans are finalized.

Piedmont Middle School also participated in the Odyssey of the Mind State competition. The “It’s How You Look At It” team took third place in their division. Team members are Wyatt Brown, Lanie Hibbs, Buddy LaFluer, Harper McCraw, Meredith Shank, Madison Strack, and Brettany Tomberlin. The team was coached by Lindsey Gallagher.